Sometimes people are put off training in a Martial Art because of a preconceived idea, or something that someone has said. Karate and other Martial Arts offer many benefits to the practitioner. Karate is carried out on a level playing field where everyone is equal; it is not relevant what tracksuit you are wearing or what you look like. Karate is a solo art where students are taught and motivated in a group by an instructor to bring out their individual potential. Karate is steeped in history and tradition, it also has many different aspects of training, ‘kihon’ - basic technique, ‘kata’ - form, ‘kumite’ - sparring, and each of these has tens of sub headings.
Your best bet is to find out for yourself what karate is like by trying it out.
Below are listed the most common questions and concerns that people have.
No. When we promote a class, students join on our ‘Karate Introduction Course’. These courses have a set number of places and it is very unlikely you will be on your own. If you walk into a class that is not being promoted you may well be the only beginner, but you will still be welcomed and made to feel comfortable. You will still be taught on a beginner’s level.
Remember that through training in karate you get fit! Many people start karate as a way to lose weight and improve fitness. You do not have to be fit to start as you will get fitter with time. Your Instructor will encourage you, but will not push you so hard that you find it difficult to take part in the class. Every student trains for themselves. Even though you do it as a group, you go at your own pace.
Karate is not a competitive hobby unless you make it so by taking part in tournaments for example, but that is completely optional.
Be patient and as the weeks go by, you will feel fitter and healthier. Remember, all students on the ‘karate introduction course’ are beginners as well.
Don’t worry! That is why karate might be just the right thing for you.
Karate is great for hand-eye coordination as we get your brain to work outside the normal way of thinking. A lot of other sports make one dominant hand or foot its main tool but in karate we train students to use both hands and feet equally. We will start you off at a beginner’s level and take things one step at a time.
It is the same with flexibility. You can only do what you can do and there is no certain level of flexibility needed, at any stage. As you train you will get more flexible and you will feel more confident in all areas of your training.
No. Doryoku Ryu teaches its students under strict/sensible instruction. Obviously any physical activity carries some risk of injury.
Compared with a lot of other activities, such as football, ballet or even the gym, we are definitely a cheaper alternative.
Our class fees are paid on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means if you miss a class you do not lose any money since you never have to pay for a class you have not attended.
To get started you do not need to buy any equipment or special clothes; you can come in tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt. Once you have done a few classes and you get into your karate training you might want to buy a Gi (Karate suit) but that’s about it. See our equipment page for prices.
Yes! In order for you to try karate you need to be registered as a member. The joining fee covers insurance and registration. Not having this would be like driving a car without tax and insurance. Martial Art Club memberships vary, but the majority have a joining fee of some description. We have different registrations fees to cover students’ needs. You might want to just try it out for a short period or you might already know you want to do this long-term, but either way we have a membership that would suit you. Contact us via e-mail or call us to discuss this further.
Yes! We fully encourage parents to train with their children. It’s a great way to spend some time together whilst at the same time learning a new skill. You can practise together at home and make karate a ‘family thing’. Children can join from as young as 5 and adults up to the age of 70!
No! Our philosophy is that you come to karate to learn karate! As a beginner you can do push-ups and sit-ups at home if you like, to build some arm and stomach strength, but we will not do those things during a normal class.
No! There is no specific religion tied to karate. Karate promotes good values as do all the main religions and belief systems.
That’s fine! It so happens that the techniques and drills that we train in karate will get you fit. Karate is not a competitive hobby unless you make it so yourself. You can choose to train once or twice a week and be happy with that. You will get fitter and more flexible with time and you do not have to compare yourself with anyone but yourself. The benefits are great whether you aim for fitness or that black belt.
No, but you might pick some up on the way! We teach our classes mainly in English, but as you progress with your karate training, so will your Japanese knowledge. Your instructor will say most things during class in both languages, one followed by the other, you probably will not even realise you are learning Japanese terms. Many experienced karate-ka are well versed in Japanese but it’s a process that happens naturally as you are training. You will not be expected to speak Japanese for your gradings.
No, but we would advise that you do. Training for your next colour belt will give you something to aim for. It also gives you a sense of achievement once you have been to a grading and have tied your next belt around your waist. Our gradings are held once a month and your instructor will not send you to grading if they are not completely confident you are ready for your next grade. You are not expected to ‘show off’ on your own, in front of a panel of judges. You will line up with all the other students and train as if it was a normal class. We do all the basics, kicks, a few combinations and stances and will finish off with kata performance as a group, everyone together!
No! Our instructors must however make sure students are following the etiquette and tradition of karate, so at times the Instructor must make a point of this. A karate instructor would not be able to run a good class without discipline. The instructor will always be approachable and aware of people’s mental and physical limits. They were beginners too at one stage and they have been chosen to teach for their ability to connect with people of all ages and for their karate knowledge.
No! Sparring is optional! But we will encourage you to learn how to spar as it is a very crucial part of Karate. It completes your training and builds up your co-ordination for more advanced self-defence as you progress in your grades.
As a beginner you will first learn the basics of karate and we will slowly introduce sparring in the class under very controlled circumstances. As students progress in grades and ability we will take the sparring further to non-contact, free sparring.
No! Tournaments are the sport side of karate and it is something that is not for everyone. Training for tournaments is different from training for your next grade. It is also a very competitive side of karate that might not suit everyone.